Thursday, December 31, 2009

ZooLights Point Defiance

Annual ZooLights pilgrimage. Had a great time. This is Erica's favorite tree! More when the kids post!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

*We'll be back as soon as life returns to normal and I'm not sick

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Thought Tuesday

I think I have lost my mind or I am preparing to lose my mind and I'm not sure when I'll be coherent enough to think let alone write a complete sentence:

1. Pageant is this weekend. We love Pageant- they kids all get to participate and are totally cute and there is LOTS of photo opportunities (5 kids x 5 scenes x 3 nights= you do the math). However this year I opened my mouth and said I could run the kitchen, no problem. I hope the kids can dress themselves in appropriate layers and go potty before they go outside for a half an hour (did I mention its always cold and wet?) because I'm going to be in the kitchen.

2. Pageant is this weekend and I'm running the kitchen. That means I have to plan, shop, plan, shop, bake, shop, check lists, shop...

3. Tonight Ryan has a Troop Committee Meeting so the kids and I are going to the church to bake cookies. They are pre-made pellets but there are 480 of them to bake. Before we get to the church we need to deliver a wreath, pick up library books, pick up the cookies, and pick up a Santa suit...

4. Before we get to #3 Rush has a doctor's appointment this afternoon so he can have his Class A Physical form filled out for Personal Fitness and the High Adventure and his sport physical form filled out so he can play baseball at the high school. I'm glad we can get it all done at the same time.... When they get home from the appointment (appointments with the boys is now a Daddy Thing) we are going to pick up a new set of bunk beds for the boys room.

5. Did I really think it was a good idea to bring home new beds this week? Isaac's loft bed is moving to Tovah's room and Jonah's twin frame is going in the attic and they are getting the new beds but you can't rearrange cluttered rooms....

6. Remember that Santa suit we're picking up tonight? Ryan's playing Santa for a preschool Christmas program tomorrow night- Photo Opp! But first we have to go to Costco to shop for our normal groceries plus Pageant food and it may be our last school day for 2 weeks so it needs to count. Rush and Arin still have youth group tomorrow night so we'll be running across town too.

7. Thursday is our only shopping day to buy Christmas presents for the kids.

8. Friday, Saturday, Sunday- countless hours spent at church plus we still have Sunday School and Church on Sunday. I want to hand out as many Christmas cards because postage is outrageous!

9. Monday I plan on being comatose or catatonic, I don't really care which. I hope to be functioning enough to run Rush to the high school to watch his friend play basketball but Grandma might have to do it for me.

10. Tuesday is ZooLights with friends! I love ZooLights, I'll have plenty of pictures to share.

11. If I'm sewing Christmas jammies it will have to be Wednesday the 23rd, we'll see... Old Navy is having a good sale on jammies.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walk & Knock

No Photo Available

The first Saturday morning of December is always Walk & Knock. We've participated since Rush was in 1st grade and a Tiger Scout. This year Rush, Arin, and Isaac went out with drivers and Jonah, Tovah, me, and my mom helped sort. It was cold but the sun was shining- so much nicer than the years when everything is wet or even snowy. Everyone was in a hurry because Adna's playing football at the Tacoma Dome this afternoon for the State Championship against Colfax. I had my camera but was too busy once the bags of food started arriving to even think about getting it out. Trudy, Wyatt, and Clara stopped by to drop off a bag of clothes for Tovah and got drafted into helping. We were home by 3- tired, sore, but feeling good about serving our community.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1st Annual Redwall Feast

This was the Great Redwall Feast at the V.R. Lee Building at Penny Playground in Chehalis on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. A group of families organized the feast because they love the Redwall books and invited all the other homeschoolers who love the books to come. Rush and I got to go with mom (she had to drive us there and attend even though she hasn't read all the books). My favorite part was the strawberry cordial and the games. I hope there's another feast next year!
I won a Redwall Graphic Novel for knowing the names of the most books. I got other prizes for my costume and for answering 2 riddles. Mom won a prize for her apple cake- Yum!

Grandma had to make Rush a new costume because he's outgrown all the costumes in the costume chest. I wore bits and pieces from our medieval co-op, Star Wars, and Hobbit costumes. Some of the older boys came in kilts and had daggers in their socks and sleeves. We wished that we had brought Nathan's swords because they would have looked cool with our costumes.

Everyone who attened the Feast. Everyone had a great time and hope to do it again next year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Give Thanks

This year was my dad's 60th birthday. My mom wanted 60 people to come to Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Well, the house was full at 34 (36 people came but some left before others arrived). All 4 of my dad's siblings were here as well as 2 nephews, 2 neices, and 2 great-neices. Nate and Cheyney came for awhile as did her folks, Liz and John, and Ryan's mom Carol and her friend, Ricardo. My brother Matthew and his girlfriend Arra also came for pie and puzzles. It was too busy and loud to get too many photos (besides I never could quite get to wherever I had left my camera). There was lots of food and pie (deep dish apple, lemon meringue, 2 pumpkin pies, and 3 cherries pies that I made). I made some Cranberry-Apple-Cherry Chutney that was pronounced "good" by those who eat the stuff. Tovah's had a blast playing with the girl cousins- Keisha and Akela. Ryan and I got to play Apples to Apples with adults for the first time (we usually play it with the kids). To top it all off, Aunt Mary brought a pogo stick for the kids. Arin's been out practicing on it all morning. Tonight we're expecting more friends to celebrate Dad's birthday with some more pie.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

October Gave a Party

Aren't these beautiful? This is the view out my bedroom window looking into our front yard. The colors are absolutely gorgeous this year. A neighbor came over to take pictures and I grabbed my camera and took some as well, the gray day really set off the vibrant colors of the yard.

That's a viburnum in the foreground with an oak to the left and a vine maple peeking in from the right.

The red is barberry planted to keep the neighborhood dogs from trailing across our yard through the flower bed. It's got wicked spikes when you have to weed or mow around it but the autumn color almost makes up for that.

The yew hedge around the "orchard" and garden.

Another view of the vine maples and oaks, looking back towards the house.

We have a huge broad leaf maple in the backyard that quickly covers the lawn with leaves. At first it was fun to rake them up into big piles....

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vote for your favorite Christmas Card!

Vote for your favorite Christmas Card! The top one was taken when we went to the Military Museum at Ft. Lewis, the second one was taken at the Locks in Ballard. Leave your vote in the comments box, Thanks!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Every year our Boy Scout Troop goes to the annual Warren Miller film at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. This year was his 60th annual film, it is about sixty annual films. It explores people talking about there roots,one clip showed that Norway was the brithplace of skiing,and in another clip they showed China and they said, 'This is the brithplace of skiing.' They have skis six feet long and instead of 2 poles, they have one big stick. My favorite scene was the crocodile on the snowboard. It really surprised me becasue I saw the croc sitting really still and it moved so quickly to bite someone trying to push him! The crowd in the theater gasped!

We went to Dairy Queen for blizzards afterwards. I had a really great time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Think about Veterans Day

Everyone's got a story to tell- I know this, as a Creative Memories Consultant it's my business. Today on Veteran's Day I have been thinking about our family's stories and how incomplete they are.

This is my Grandpa Moe, my mother's father, Thermon Ross Motsinger. He enlisted in the Army in 1944 and I believe he was in the Air Corps. I don't think he went overseas or if he did he didn't stay long because my aunt was born in June of 1946. He was an engineer for General Dynamics until he died when I was 12 (he was a real Rocket Scientist). He was a quiet man who believed deeply in God, the Bible, and freedom. He gave a lot of money for Creation research and also to the Republicans. When I was a kid I thought it was totally cool that he went to church at Knott's Berry Farm, really.

This is my dad, C. Tracy O'Brien. This photo was taken the day they brought me home from the hospital in Grand Forks. He was in the Air Force and was a Minuteman Missile Mechanic. He finished his 4 years and got out and went to school on the G.I. Bill. He graduated from San Diego State when I was 4. His brother, my uncle Donovan O'Brien enlisted in the Navy and retired in 1989. He was on board the Iowa when the gun exploded. Another uncle, Dwayne Johnson, was in the Army and was a tunnel rat in Vietnam. He struggled with that the rest of his life. Only as an adult can I begin to imagine the horrors he saw and lived through as a child I just thought he had the perfect garden- it was in the attic with neat lights.

Ryan enlisted in 1986 and left for the Navy in 1987. He spent 2 years in Millington, TN training to be an Aviation Electronics Technician. In 1988 we went to Guam for 3 and a half years. During Desert Storm VQ-1's P-3's flew reconnaissance. Every plane came back every 4-6 weeks and had to be completely stripped and rebuilt from all the sand damage. For 6 months they worked 12 on 12 off 7 days a week. One of those planes was the one that was forced down in China. Ryan also spent 6 months of that time in Atsugi, Japan. He loved Japan and wants to go back some day (they say if you don't climb Mt. Fuji you are destined to return until you climb the mountain). Ryan's brother, Rick was in the Air Force and spent 15 months on Guam, but he was on an unaccompanied tour so doesn't have the good memories we
have of the island.

4th Generation- Nathan enlisted in the Army in 2008. He is now stationed at Ft. Lewis and married to Cheyney. He will be going to Afghanistan in the spring. His story is just starting...

I'm thankful for our friends from high school who spent some time in the military and the few that have stuck it out and are now retiring- Tom T, Eric F, and Brian B. I'm thankful for the men and women (just can't call them kids if they are willing to put their life down for me and mine) who are now serving: in the Navy- Thomas M and Brandon V; and in the Marines- Beth & Walter H and Alex D. We love you guys!

I'm thankful that The Veteran's Museum is working hard to collect and preserve the stories of so many Veterans so that they are not forgotten.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baking Naan

On Tuesday we made a Indian bread called Naan. Grandma Carol helped me with the mixing and kneading.
It had to rise for two hours. At first we put it next to the heater, than we moved it to the table, finally we finished rising it on the dryer while a load of clothes were drying.

When it started it was flat than it puffed up to about a half a inch.

We tried cooking it on the grill like the recipe said to, but it got too hot when the melted butter flamed so we ended up cooking it inside on the griddle (it puffed up more on the grill).

They were really good plain and even better with cinnamon and sugar like an elephant ear.
Note: Isaac had to do a Pathways assignment on bread around the world and in the Bible. This was the yummiest looking bread in the wikipedia article. The other one we want to try is Mantou- a Chinese steamed or fried bread.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle

On Thursday we went to the fish ladder at the locks in Seattle. This is the flood gate (from above), it allows the water from Lake Washington and Lake Union to drain into the sound. The locks are on the boating channel that links the lakes to the sound. The lakes are 6-26' higher than the level of the sound. The locks raise and lower the boats so they can move along the waterway. We got to see a boat go through the locks.

It is a brand new boat that was just unloaded off a freighter from China and being taken up to one of the lakes for outfitting and delivery.

There was a smashed penny machine at the fish ladder so we added two more to our collection.

Look closely- you'll see a fish in the viewing area of the fish ladder.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All about my favorite action figure.

I like to collect a lot of action figures because they're awesome. I guess you could say it's a hobby of mine. My favorite one is Darth Varder, a Sith Lord of the Force. He used to be known as Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi of the Force. Now the difference between a Jedi and a Sith is that a Jedi is a protector of the peace and a Sith is a corrupter of the peace. But enough of this conversation, I'm going to close now. ~Arin

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jonah and his Koalas

My name is Jonah, I am 10 years old.

I have 7 koalas: Koaly (in brown shirt), Fluffy (has a big nose), Tiny, Aussie, Hyme (the big one), Eentsy (on Hyme's head), and Lowyou (hiding behind Hyme). Koaly is three years old,I got him when we went to Silverwood and he started my collection. I don't remember when I got all the others. Someday I would like to go to San Diego or even to Australia to see live Koalas. My grandma brought me home a mug from the San Diego Zoo last month. My Great-Grandma Hendrickson gave me Hyme, Lowyou, and Tiny. Koaly's shirt I got from my mom and dad

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Great Pumpkin Chase

I'm going to talk to you about the Great Pumpkin Chase.It's really fun and awesome and just for the Jr. High, we get to go bowling and rollerskating, it's so much fun. We play games at the Church and have pizza and soda and a message from the youth group leaders! I wish you could have come to G.P.C. Goodbye.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Carving Pumpkins

We bought our pumpkins at Wal-Mart because the local pumpkins got rained on and were rotting in the field. We finally got around to carving them on the the 30th. Mom said it was dad's turn to help us this year.

Jonah is holding one of the paper patterns we used. We poked holes through the pattern to mark the pumpking then cut from hole to hole to follow the pattern.

Rush is carving out the face of Jonah's pumpkin with a battery-operated carver (mom bought it a few years ago to save her hand from hurting when we carved 1 pumpkin for each child).

My pumpin has star eyes and Jonah's is smiling.

Our pumpkins out in the yard.

Rush stayed home, Arin was an 80's rocker, Isaac a sleepwalker, Jonah an Army dude, and I was Snow White. Mom went as a homicidial maniac because you know they look like everyone else. We went trick or treating down Dieckman Rd in Adna, then came home and ate our candy.

We roasted our pumpkin seeds this year for the first time. Mom found a really good recipe.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Typical* School Week

*Typical as in this is how it is supposed to work on week's when there is nothing else going on...

School is different this year than in year's past (every year is different but this one seems really different). Rush started high school so he has a more structured curriculum but only 4-6 subjects per semester. Because he has more independent work I'm moving everyone to work independently. It really has made my job easier but it doesn't seem like as much fun. For the last 7 years we've used Sonlight Curriculum and I love the living book approach to history and language and science. This year Rush is doing composition, WA State History, math, general science, and PE. The history and science courses give us the opportunity for plenty of field trips. Everyone else is doing Pathways Reading, Math-U-See, Italics, Apples spelling, and Bible. For science I work with what they need to complete in their scout books and fill in with videos, books, and field trips. I'm missing the read aloud time but haven't figured out when or where to work it into our day.

The morning is supposed to start with them getting up, dressed, make their bed, eat breakfast, and do their chores without being reminded. That hardly ever happens. By 9 we usually are ready to start school. They work all morning, we eat lunch when everyone is done, sometimes lunch is very late. When Jonah and Tovah are done they go downstairs for music and art with Grandma. Jonah is learning to play the piano and Tovah is working on the piano, fiddle, and cello. Then she's ready to paint or embroider or just have a tea party. I've learned to stay close and available for help, if they have to look for me then they get distracted and find something else to do that seems better than their school work.

After lunch we have time for Boy Scout projects or cooking projects or everyone just scatters to do their own thing. We have lots of afternoon and evening activities this year: Monday is Cub Scouts and I go to knitting if Ryan doesn't work that night, Tuesday Tovah had soccer, Wednesday we head to town around 3 to go to the library and start dinner at church for AllStars, Thursday Rush and Arin had a writing class and we have Boy Scouts, Friday is CAST (ChristiAn Student Theatre) rehearsals. Saturdays we have to stay quiet so Ryan can sleep but this fall we had lots of Scout activities and we were gone most Saturdays. Sunday is church. Saturday night after Ryan leaves for work seems to be our down time.

Like I said, this year with Rush doing WA State History there are a lot of field trip opportunities. I don't mind going and doing something every other week or so, it keeps me from getting cabin fever. This winter we'll have a couple of weeks of swim lessons and 3 or 4 of the kids want to play baseball in the spring so we'll have to rework our schedule to accommodate practices and games. Isaac is also hoping to be in Chess Club again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lattin's Cider Mill- October 27

Lattin's Cider Mill is just south of Olympia, and has some different activities.

You can buy food bags and feed all the different animals and on weekends and for groups they have free cider tastings.

You need to be careful when you're feeding the goats, because they will eat your food bag if you don't keep it out of their reach. It took Arin a lot of years to learn this, this year they almost got mom's bag.

My favorite part about Lattin's is trying the different flavors of cider they have. My favorite flavor is raspberry. ~Rush

Note from mom: We go to get the cider and the apple cider donuts. Feeding the animals and buying pumpkins is just a bonus. On weekends they make apple fritters. They are located on Rich Rd. off of Hwy. 99.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fort Lewis Military Museum

Last Thursday we went to Fort Lewis to tour the Military Museum. The Fort Lewis Military Museum collects, preserves, displays and interprets artifacts relevant to the history of Fort Lewis and the units which have served there.

This is the label on the Howitzer, it is a BIG gun
Our favorite part of the museum were the tanks outside.

A model of the museum when it was the Red Shield Inn. It was built in 1918 by the Salvation Army as a hotel for the families of soldiers in WWI. It was a hotel until 1972. In 1979 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only US Army Museum on the west coast.

This is Saddam Hussein's head off a statue from Baghdad brought back by the Triple Nickel (Nate's unit)